THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR DEC. 26 - JAN. 1 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Culture » Entertainment Picks


Cirque Musica: Holiday Wishes, The Greatest Showman Sing-Along, Joshua T. Fonokalafi


  • Tracey Brown Photography

FRIDAY 12/27
Cirque Musica: Holiday Wishes
Offering an electrifying fusion of thrilling theatrics and live holiday music, Holiday Wishes—presented by world-renowned Cirque Musica—could be the gift that keeps giving. "We really like creating memories for families," Stephen Cook, creator and producer for Cirque Musica, says. "It is what we do."

Attendees will experience a show filled with some of the world's greatest circus performers, fearless acrobats and hilarious hijinks, topped off with charming holiday cheer by a full symphony orchestra. A sensory extravaganza, Holiday Wishes takes audiences on a journey of dazzling beauty and mystery performed at a high level of creativity.

Putting on a production of this magnitude relies on hard workers to bring it to life. "We change venues every day, travel 100-500 miles per night, load in, rehearse, show and load out in same day, etc.," Cook says. "It is a lot, but we have a great cast and crew that love what they do and want to put on the absolute best show they can for the audience."

Cook was inspired to create a show combining live music and visual entertainment after working with the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus as well as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. There is no doubt this event will leave family members leaping for joy during this merry month. "At the end of every show we, have the cast come out to the lobby and meet the audience as they leave," Cook adds. "Everyone is talking and taking pictures and it really is a great way to end the evening." (Colette A. Finney)

Cirque Musica: Holiday Wishes @ Vivint Smart Home Arena, 301 W. South Temple, 801-325-2000, Dec. 27, 7:30 p.m., $32-$62,

  • 20th Century Fox

The Greatest Showman Sing-Along
Ogden's Peery's Egyptian Theater is offering a chance for Utahns to run away and join the circus, if only for a few hours, with their upcoming screening of a sing-along version of The Greatest Showman.

For the second year in a row, lovers of the film are invited to sit beneath the faux-starry night of the theater's ceiling and belt out the musical's catchy tunes like "This Is Me" and "The Other Side." Attendees are also encouraged to show up in their best circus-inspired outfits, whatever that means to them.

With its whimsical, but, inaccurate take on history, The Greatest Showman stormed into viewers hearts' and minds when it premiered two years ago. The musical follows an idealized version of the carnival showman P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), his quest to create an entertainment extravaganza and the misfits he uses to do so using uplifting and pop music-style songs.

If you somehow missed the movie on its first run, but still want to experience a night out with your fellow theater nerds, you're in luck. The theater will be screening a version of the film with the words appearing on the screen so audience members can sing along. While tickets are available up to one hour prior to the show, organizers noted that the event sold out last year and will likely sell out again. (Kylee Ehmann)

The Greatest Showman Sing-Along @ Peery's Egyptian Theater, 2415 Washington Blvd., 801-689-8700, Dec. 28, 2 p.m., $6,

  • Keli Hiatt Anderson

Joshua T. Fonokalafi
For Utah native comedian Joshua T. Fonokalafi, self-deprecation is a fundamental part of his stage persona. But he also remembers that being too self-critical almost kept him from trying his first open mic in 2009. "I almost backed out," Fonokalafi recalls. "I wrote the three best jokes I could possibly think of. I just wrote the stupidest stuff. Even to this day, I repeat in my head, 'You only have stupid jokes.'"

Local audiences seem to disagree, as Fonokalafi has built a 10-year career with gags poking good-natured fun at his ample frame and his Pacific Islander heritage. He has had to shift the focus of some of his jokes more recently, as references to being a doofus single guy became outdated when he got married. "When you start comedy, you crack your brain open and see all the stuff inside it and pick at it," he says. "After getting married, that's like another head inside your head to crack open. ... I see my comedy evolving because of my life."

What hasn't evolved is the sense that Fonokalafi is doing what he was born to do. He was even willing to risk the opposition of his father, when he remembers "coming out of the comedy closet" and having his dad tell him he was wasting his time. Only two years after he started was he able to get his father to come see a show, and turn him into a fan. "Dad said, 'I was laughing so hard, I couldn't open my eyes,'" Fonokalafi says. "'You have to keep doing this. You can't stop.'" (Scott Renshaw)

Joshua T. Fonokalafi @ Wiseguys West Jordan, 3763 W. Center Park Drive, West Jordan, 801-463-2909, Dec. 28, 8 p.m., $15,

  • Kovert Creative

Nikki Glaser
The idea of "working blue" is certainly nothing new in stand-up comedy, and the stereotype of female comics constantly talking about sex dates back decades. So it's no mean feat that Nikki Glaser has managed to build her entire career around discussing risqué topics in a way that feels genuinely fresh and unique. The 35-year-old comedian has shown an impressive willingness to veer off into any and every aspect of sexuality—from broader fare like first boyfriends and porn habits, to more unusual topics like the perils of sodomy and the oddly familiar shape of diaphragms.

This fearlessness in the face of filth paid off in a big way with Glaser's 2016 series Not Safe w/ Nikki Glaser, a sort of X-rated Bill Nye Saves the World that used Glaser's comedy as a vector to explore and educate on topics like male enhancement pills, sex work and open relationships. Despite being a compassionate, surprisingly informative and side-splittingly hilarious look at sex in the modern age, Not Safe only made it a scant one season and 20 episodes before being shafted by Comedy Central, and the prospect of new installments of "Tinder Tapout" or "What's Your Number?" anytime soon seems unlikely.

Since Not Safe's cancellation, Glaser has kept busy, hosting the daily radio talk show You Up?, in addition to maintaining an active social media presence and regularly performing stand-up on and off television. She's currently slated for a feature in Season 2 of the Netflix comedy showcase series The Degenerates, as well as a live performance at Salt Lake's own Wiseguys comedy club on New Year's Eve. (Nic Renshaw)

Nikki Glaser @ Wiseguys SLC, 194 S. 400 West, 801-532-5233, Dec. 31, 7 & 9:30 p.m., $35,